Paul Buchheit on becoming a great engineer

Kaizen or continous improvement is one of my principles of life. I came across this article from Hacker News and I thought there are some great points in it relating to Kaizen. TIL: I never heard of Paul Buchheit nor did I know that he is the Gmail creator.

Work on different level of abstraction

Computer science is almost unlike any other engineering discipline because we routinely work at many different layers of abstraction. Someone who is only able to operate at one level is not going to be effective because often any given problem will be at a different level of abstraction from the last. Great engineers understand computers all the way from the silicon up through the different layers and protocols and systems.

This has been a personal goal of mine, I have been working in the “upper” layer e.g HTML/CSS, JavaScript, backend programming and system design (where I spent the majority of my time in) - but now in a way I am aiming to go into “lower” level that is the layer where devops dwell (e.g working with Kubernetes and infrastructure).

Showing up is the secret to getting good

Doing it. Showing up seems to be the secret to getting good at most things. I programmed when I was in high school, and it was all I did because I didn’t have anything else going on—fortunately. Programming was my hobby, and I always had some project I was trying to implement. I think there’s no substitute for doing a lot of programming because you just can’t get really good in a short amount of time. It certainly took me years before I would say I was any good.

I am still long way from being a great engineer and I will show up :)